Thursday, January 28, 2010

To Make a Switch, Part 2

"Switch", a new book by Chip and Dan Heath, is being released February 15. Authors of the best-selling "Made to Stick", their new work focuses on the two independent systems in our minds: the rational mind and the emotional mind. They compete for control in our heads all the time, and the paradox is that only by harnessing each of their strengths can lasting change take place.

Whether the switch you seek is in your family, in your organization, or in society at large, you'll get there by making three things happen. Here is the second.

Motivate the Elephant

In the terminology adopted by the Heaths, the emotional side of the brain is called the Elephant. To motivate your emotional side, you need to:
  • Find the feeling
  • Shrink the change
  • Grow your people

People find it more motivating to be partly finished with a longer journey than to be at the starting gate of a shorter one. One way to motivate action, then, is to make people feel as though they’re already closer to the finish line than they might have thought. Rather than focusing solely on what’s new and different about the change to come, make an effort to remind people what’s already been conquered.

If you want a reluctant Elephant to get moving, you need to shrink the change.

If people are facing a daunting task, and their instinct is to avoid it, you’ve got to break down the task. Shrink the change. Make the change small enough that they can’t help but score a victory. When you engineer early successes, what you’re really doing is engineering hope. Hope is precious to a change effort.

The goal is to be wise about the things that are under our control. You want to select small wins that have two traits: (1) they’re meaningful; (2) They’re within immediate reach. Small targets lead to small victories, and small victories can often trigger a positive spiral of behavior.

A change journey that starts with dread is evolving, slowly, toward a feeling of confidence and pride.

As change shrinks, people grow

The central challenge of change is keeping the Elephant moving forward. Where the Rider (rational brain) needs direction, the Elephant (emotional brain) needs motivation. Motivation comes from feeling – knowledge isn’t enough to motivate change – and from confidence. There are two routes to building people so that they are capable of conquering the change. You can shrink the change or grow your people – or do both.

The book is "Switch", by Dan and Chip Heath. Because change is a regular part of the leader's life, you need to get a copy and dive in.

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